Delhi: Over-The-Counter Medicines Go Off Shelves

NEW DELHI: Apart from food items, people are also stocking up on over-the-counter medicines in a hope that these will help against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to a chemist shop-owner in Vasant Kunj, many people are buying medicines like HCQS 200 and 400mg, a malaria drug used by arthritis patients, too, and lariago, another malaria drug, in bulk.

“People started buying these medicines, which are cheap, after some news that these will help counter the virus and, thereby, there is a shortage now,” said Beerbal Singh. Distributors themselves have started supplying less after Delhi government advised against hoarding, he added.

On Tuesday, Delhi government asked druggists and chemist shops not to sell hydroxychloroquinolones (HCQS), chloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and related products to anyone without a prescription “from a registered medical practitioner having a MD general medicine degree/a pulmonogist”. In a letter addressed to the All Chemist Association of Delhi, the drugs control department said, “It has been observed that some of the consumers/public are buying the above medicines for preventive use.”

But the owners and employees of chemist shops across the city TOI spoke to echoed the problem of shortage, especially of these drugs. Commuting is also an issue, most of them said.

“We have given employees an ID card so that the cops know that they work in a medical store, one of the essential services. Still they are being stopped. Those with two-wheelers can still manage but those dependent on public transport are finding it almost impossible to come,” said Sohail Khan, owner of Safdurjung Medicos.

According to him, supply issues are there but there is nothing to panic. “Some medicines are not coming, especially a few malaria and arthritis ones. But it will get sorted soon,” said Khan.

The National Task Force for Covid-19, set up by the Indian Council of Medical Research on Monday, has recommended use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in treating high-risk cases but with precautions.

Sudheer, an employee at Apollo Pharmacy in East Punjabi Bagh, said, “We are also facing a lot of problems, just like the rest of the country. Employees are not being able to come. But it’s an essential service. People need to remain calm.”

However, some are also managing it well. An employee at Rohini’s Garg Medical Store said its empoyees were coming and the shop was yet to face any supply problem.-Times Of India

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